Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Relationship is Like a Rollercoaster”

I am 29 and my boyfriend is 27 we are both educated professionals. We have been dating a year and a half and I feel like we are two fools in love who have no idea how to deal with it. I’ve been divorced for four years from my husband of eight years. My boyfriend had an eight year relationship that ended four years ago as well. We met online and have both been very cautious in our relationship, but it has grown to the point where I am ready for a lifetime commitment from him.

I’m ready to jump into an engagement, but he’s been backing away. He just got a promotion two months ago, and for five months things have been different. Five months ago he was feeling me out for what I would say if he popped the question and he was not expecting my answer to be that I would say yes and that I was serious about him. When his promotion came along we have been unable to see each other as much (we live 50 minutes away) and his living situation does not allow for me to come visit him (no dogs overnight).

I can say I have never ever loved a man like this. I cannot shake him or dump him despite the fact he has been nonexistent the last few months. He tells me he loves me, tells me he wants me, but says it’s unfair to me that he cannot give me what I need right now and that I deserve the world (I am really REALLY good to him). I have played the games of dumping him and then taking it back; I have given him deadlines of when I think he should figure things out (whether he wants a commitment or not); and I have been understanding about his job and the stress it causes him. I don’t feel he wants me to end it, but I don’t know how much more of this rollercoaster I can take. My head says break it off, but my heart says that I don’t want to be without him and that love is hard and I need to stick by him. — Deadline Driven

You’re delusional if you think you and your boyfriend are “two fools in love.” The only fool you’ve described in your letter is … you. It’s been a year and a half, and not only have you let your boyfriend know you want a lifetime commitment from him, you’ve given him what sounds like multiple “deadlines” to figure out whether he wants a commitment from you. Well, guess what: he has figured it out and the answer is no.

He wants things to stay exactly as they are (well, minus the constant marriage talk on your end), which is to say entirely on his terms. He sees you when he wants to see you, which sounds like not very often at all, and he gets a girlfriend who is “REALLY good to him.” He gets the benefits of a relationship without having to put in any work. In fact, your situation is a lot like the letter from last week in which the woman wanted the “girlfriend” label. The difference here is that you’ve been together over three times as long and you’ve already given several ultimatums that have come and gone.

Darlin’, this ship has sailed. The window is closed. The sun has set on whatever great day you once had together. It’s done. It’s over. It’s time to move on. This isn’t even a “rollercoaster” you’re on as that would require there to be some ups and it doesn’t sound like you’ve had many of those lately. No, this is just a dead end road leading to nothing but heartache.

Your relationship began to change at the exact time you made clear you wanted a serious, longterm commitment. Don’t you see the connection there? Your boyfriend knows he isn’t the person to give you what you want to he backed off. And the five months since then have done nothing to bring you closer together again despite your repeated attempts to make your boyfriend commit. Take the hint here and MOA. If this were going to happen, it would have happened by now. The only thing your future holds with this guy is heartache if you continue to stay with him in the land of denial, so do yourself a huge favor and MOA before you get any more lovesick.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

98 comments… add one
  • avatar

    CottonTheCuteDog December 5, 2011, 3:18 pm

    she got married at 15?

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      LolaBeans December 5, 2011, 3:21 pm

      right???

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    • avatar

      Flake December 5, 2011, 3:22 pm

      I came up with 17…

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    • JK

      JK December 5, 2011, 3:24 pm

      she´s 29, 4 years divorced, 8 years married= 12 years ago= she got married at 17. Still way too young though, in my opinion.

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      • avatar

        CottonTheCuteDog December 5, 2011, 3:34 pm

        oh yeah – sorry. Math is hard!

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      • landygirl

        Landygirl December 5, 2011, 4:33 pm

        I couldn’t agree more.

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      • avatar

        Sarah December 5, 2011, 7:22 pm

        But she’s been with THIS guy for over a year. So 16 at the oldest.

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      • JK

        JK December 5, 2011, 8:00 pm

        But Lw wrote “I’ve been divorced for four years from my husband of eight years”, not prior to this r/ship I´d been divorced for 4 years.

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    • avatar

      Ktfran December 5, 2011, 3:25 pm

      Thanks for doing the math . . . because I didn’t want to. I figured she was young, but WOW!

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest December 5, 2011, 3:28 pm

      17 if my math is right.

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      • avatar

        MsMisery December 6, 2011, 1:25 pm

        Whether it’s 15, 16, or 17, sounds like she needs to stop the serial monogamy and date around/have more fun. WHY SO SERIOUS, LW? But before that, be single loooong time. Figure out what you want from yourself, a partner, and life.

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      • avatar

        AKchic December 6, 2011, 2:57 pm

        I got 17, but even then, she would have had to have been in a relationship with the individual for at least a few months. It could be that the LW just turned 29, and she could have gotten married at 16 (right before turning 17). Either way – too young. I know from experience.

        She’s jumped in way too fast and I’m guessing it’s out of habit, based on her first marriage, which is the only basis she has on a “relationship” and “marriage”. She needs to walk away if she wants a marriage. If this guy wants a long term relationship, he wants a slow one, which she NEEDS a slow one, not the speedy pace she’s setting (is it because 3-0 is looming?). She needs a therapist to work out her damned issues.

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  • Will.i.am

    Will.i.am December 5, 2011, 3:23 pm

    I agree with Wendy. I had this same issue with my last relationship and it’s one of the reasons we broke up. She was looking for something more serious and I just wasn’t ready, since I had just finished college and was very focused on my career at work. I was finally in a position to move up the corporate ladder and I didn’t want anything to distract me along the way. I loved her and she loved me, but I couldn’t give her what she wanted long-term.

    She wanted to see me everyday mostly and I wanted to see her 3 or 4 days tops. We met while she was going through a divorce, so she was used to the husband being home everyday and them doing things together. I have never been married and haven’t lived with someone in over 3 years, so I was more interested in her having her space and me having my own.

    It’s best for the relationship to calm down some or for you two to reevaluate what each of you can compromise on to make the relationship work. Maybe he needs a couple of months to get his job down and then he can give more focus to the relationship, or maybe he needs more time than that and you aren’t prepared to wait on him. The one thing that needs to happen here is communication. You aren’t happy and he’s happy with the way things are. His focus is clearly on his career, which isn’t a bad thing; however, it’s leaving you feeling less desired.

    It’s time to have a talk and see what you two can agree on together, or it may be time for both of you to move on to what makes both of you happy.

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  • JK

    JK December 5, 2011, 3:25 pm

    “…his living situation does not allow for me to come visit him (no dogs overnight).” This made me laugh.

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    • avatar

      Kerrycontrary December 5, 2011, 3:52 pm

      yeh…I have a dog that I don’t like to board because she’s pretty nervous/insecure, but if it prevented me from seeing my boyfriend altogether then I would bite the bullet and board her occasionally.

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    • avatar

      bethany December 5, 2011, 4:04 pm

      It’s nice for a LW to actually explain something though- Imagine if she hadn’t- We’d have come up with all sorts of crazy reasons as to why she wasn’t spending the night!! (Like what happened with that girl who didn’t want to move her horse overseas or whatever it was a few weeks/months ago, but didn’t originally tell us that’s why she couldn’t move)

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    • avatar

      va-in-ny December 5, 2011, 4:59 pm

      Why can’t he come and visit her?

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      • avatar

        Ally December 5, 2011, 5:40 pm

        I was wondering that too…

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      • avatar

        slamy December 5, 2011, 6:50 pm

        Hates dogs 😉

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    • avatar

      kittyk December 5, 2011, 7:43 pm

      I laughed too but then thought this seemed like an excuse on his part- I mean really, you can’t have a dog at your place on occasion? I know landlords can be strict and all, but come on!

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      • avatar

        bethany December 6, 2011, 9:03 am

        If my landlord knew we had a dog at our place overnight all hell would break loose! Plus he lives across the street, so he’d probably know about it. I think this is a valid excuse. Now, I totally agree that if he was really that into the relationship, he could go over to her place.

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    • avatar

      Caris December 5, 2011, 9:22 pm

      What I don’t get is that she thinks 50 minutes is far away? My school is 40 minutes away and I go there everyday… I have friends who live 3 hours away and go to school everyday…….

      She could live the dog alone for a night, is not that long… OR ask a friend to keep an eye on the dog? …

      ORRRR he could visit her instead?

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      • avatar

        cporoski December 6, 2011, 6:05 am

        I commute 40 MILES each way every day. It is 3 hours of commuting a day. I would be so happy with 50 minutes.

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  • avatar

    redessa December 5, 2011, 3:26 pm

    Sounds to me like it has, in fact, been a roller coaster but entirely of the LW’s making. The boyfriend is being pretty clear that he isn’t the one to give you what you want. Yes, he says he has feelings for you, but for whatever reason, that’s not enough. He is unwilling or unable to give you the kind of commitment you’re looking for.

    You can either try backing off and see if he comes around on his own, in his own time (this is really difficult once you’ve gotten marriage on the brain). Or you can back all the way out of the relationship (my recommendation). There’s really no going forward here.

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  • avatar

    *HmC* December 5, 2011, 3:29 pm

    “I am really REALLY good to him.”

    This made me shudder. What does that even mean?! Why are you being so good to someone that sounds like they are basically phasing you out? People should have to earn your respect, trust, and attention. Based on the limited picture of the relationship that we’ve been given, I have to say that my gut agrees with Wendy here. I’m sorry LW. But you should BOTH be “REALLY good” to each other. You can’t have a great relationship with one person doing all the work, all the fretting, and setting numerous deadlines and ultimatums. If he really wanted the same commitment from you that you seem to want with him, he’d be showing it through his actions. He’d be doing whatever he could to not let you get away.

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    • avatar

      va-in-ny December 5, 2011, 4:56 pm

      “I am REALLY good to him.” came off as resentful to me. Why else would you put it in there if the other end of it wasn’t “He isn’t as good to me.”?

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      • avatar

        *HmC* December 5, 2011, 5:55 pm

        Exactly my point. Emotionally healthy people don’t want to be in either side of a lop sided relationship.

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      • avatar

        SpyGlassez December 6, 2011, 1:58 am

        It came off as “I give him blowies ALL THE TIME and don’t even ask for a kiss on the mouth after!”

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    • avatar

      cporoski December 5, 2011, 5:27 pm

      I thought this meant in the sexual favors kind of way.

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      • avatar

        cporoski December 5, 2011, 5:28 pm

        or I am the sole caretaker or his disabled mother…seriously, what does that mean?

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      • avatar

        Visharoo December 6, 2011, 1:35 am

        I thought she meant sexual favors too…

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    Ktfran December 5, 2011, 3:30 pm

    I’m confused by this . . . “Five months ago he was feeling me out for what I would say if he popped the question and he was not expecting my answer to be that I would say yes and that I was serious about him.”

    I don’t understand why someone would inquire about long-term commitments then back off. Strange.

    At any rate, I agree with Wendy and Will. Oh, and ulimatums never work in the long run. You might get what you want in the short term (or the opposite of what you want), but very rarely will it work out for the better. Stop doing that.

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    • Will.i.am

      Will.i.am December 5, 2011, 3:38 pm

      You know how many ultimatums I have heard that I didn’t comply to? Too damn many! I learned my lesson many years ago to not offer ultimatums, because I noticed it scared the other party more than making them want to step their game up. I’m to the point that the other person will put in the effort to work things out with me and we will grow together, or we can both go our separate ways. There’s really no need for either party to have to constantly coach the other person. If the planets align again in the future, the two of you can try again when both people are more where they need to be to work.

      I will tell you this, if he’s that focused on his career that is very admirable. You know how many people out their gave up their dreams and career in order to make a relationship work, and 6 months later the relationship was over? Then that person spends years being resentful, because they missed out on an opportunity to greatly improve their lives? I’m ok with a relationship going through a rough patch for a career, because it means the other person not only wants to do better for themselves, but for me too. Or, if not me, someone else they meet down the road. I’m in the same seat as the LW’s boyfriend and no one will step in the way of me and my career aspirations. She can either go along for the ride with me or find someone who is better suited to meet her needs. I would expect the same if I was pursuing someone who was deeply focused in her career.

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      • avatar

        Kerrycontrary December 5, 2011, 3:53 pm

        Not many good marriages begin with an ultimatum

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    • avatar

      cporoski December 5, 2011, 5:36 pm

      OK, I think ultimatums need to happen sometimes in order to move ahead. Honestly, I know alot of people who get very comfortable in thier relationship and you need to have the “come to Jesus meeting” about where it is going. I think if you clearly define boundries and expectations, and follow through, then it works. But, I think alot of people use them as weapons and empty threats. She was not ready to follow through so it didn’t work.

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      • avatar

        Ktfran December 5, 2011, 5:52 pm

        I believe there is a huge difference in handing out an ultimatum and having a calm, rational discussion about where a relationship is headed. I would respond kindly to the later, not the former. Honestly, which sounds better?

        I want a ring in 5 months or else I’m leaving? or

        We’ve been together for a while now, I’m ready to move forward with you and want to know if you want the same things? Ok, that one is on the fly and I would probably word it a lot better. But I hope you get my point. If the other person doesn’t want the same things, you reassess the relationship. Have a converstation about timing. Say you’re fine now and you want to take a look at things in a few months. If, in a few months it’s the same, and you can’t live with that, MOA.

        I guess what I’m trying to say is that there are ulimatums and there are open dialogues. One will fare much better with an open dialog.

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      • avatar

        cporoski December 6, 2011, 6:11 am

        You are right. It is all about the definition.

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  • avatar

    silver_dragon_girl December 5, 2011, 3:32 pm

    Oh, girlfriend. Run. 50 minutes away and you can’t ever see each other?! Come on. That’s less than an hour. People commute farther than that every day.

    Also, everyone always thinks that they’ve “never ever loved anyone like this.” Sometimes it is true. In this case, I think you are throwing yourself further and further into this relationship, trying to save it, and it’s just too late. He’s pulling away…do yourself a favor and break it off before he does it for you.

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    • avatar

      SpyGlassez December 6, 2011, 2:01 am

      For realz. The first year of my relationship with the BF, I lived 50 mins away. I taught in his city two nights a week and worked full-time in mine. There were plenty of times I would drive up, teach, stay over, get up early, drive home to work, lather-rinse-repeat. He would do the same when he could (he was still in school and had all early morning classes so usually that just meant on weekends). We saw each other 5 days a week at least, with him in school full time and me working two jobs. So it can TOTALLY be done.

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  • Budj

    Budj December 5, 2011, 3:37 pm

    I think the fact that she gave this guy (did I count 5?!) ultimatums after he fantasy played around with the idea of marriage with the LW played a huge part in this guy backing off. I think this is a completely different situation than the other letter. I know this sounds harsh and I apologize if I misread your letter, but LW, you played mind games for 5 months with this guy and you expect him to still feel the same about you? He is probably wishing he never brought it up.

    Your only hope is to back off of the marriage talk and ultimatums and bring it up later (not 3 weeks later) or let him bring it up. A lot of other people will have better advice for what happens after that than myself.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom December 5, 2011, 4:48 pm

      My first thought was that she was playing games and that never works. It also seems very immature.

      You can’t force him to be what you want, he either is or he isn’t but demanding he be what you want won’t change him. You can give yourself a deadline to move on if he isn’t where you need him to be but you can’t just shove him into an engagement or marriage.

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  • avatar

    ReginaRey December 5, 2011, 3:39 pm

    Biggest red flag in this letter: “I have played the games of dumping him and then taking it back…”

    Your problem is not that your boyfriend isn’t committing to you the way you want. Your problem is that you’re not mature enough for a lifetime commitment. When you give an ultimatum, you have to stick with it. When you give a deadline, you have to stick with it. You don’t dump someone, get back together, dump someone, then get back together…and expect a healthy relationship to be borne of that.

    Lending to my theory that you’re not mature enough for another marriage is your use of the phrase “two fools in love” and “I’m ready to JUMP into an engagement.” I would hope that after your last marriage and subsequent divorce, you did some soul-searching. Maybe you went to therapy and tried to figure out what exactly was wrong with the relationship, why it failed, and what kind of relationship you’re looking for going forward. But unfortunately, I’m not getting that vibe.

    Why do you want to get married, exactly? Why exactly do you want to be married TO HIM? I’m getting a strong, strong sense that you want to be engaged just to “be engaged.” Your relationship shouldn’t feel like a rollercoaster. You shouldn’t have to dump someone multiple times to get “what you want” (an engagement) out of it. You shouldn’t have to move mountains to get someone to be the kind of partner you want them to be. It should come naturally. This relationship isn’t natural at all. It’s all you being “REALLY good to him” and him putting in next to no effort. So again, why do you want to marry this person? I believe you’re falling into the category of “wants the wedding, not the marriage.” I think you’d be MUCH better off single for a while…so you can grow up a bit.

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    • avatar

      CG December 5, 2011, 3:43 pm

      “Your problem is not that your boyfriend isn’t committing to you the way you want. Your problem is that you’re not mature enough for a lifetime commitment.” I totally co-sign this. I don’t know if getting married at 17 has any bearing on this, but maybe the LW just ought to take some time and be single and do some growing up once she and her BF break up.

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      • avatar

        ReginaRey December 5, 2011, 3:46 pm

        A lot of people want to marry their boyfriend at 17. I did! But I didn’t go through with it. I think it’s less about getting married at 17 than it is about not having matured SINCE then. You got married at 17 and then ended up divorced? Fine. You made a hasty judgment at 17 that you probably regretted as an adult. I can forgive that. But I can’t forgive not having learned from that experience, and maturing from it.

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      • avatar

        CG December 5, 2011, 3:51 pm

        Yeah, def. It’s like she’s stuck in the 17-year-old mindset of what a relationship should/shouldn’t be.

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    • bagge72

      bagge72 December 5, 2011, 3:46 pm

      I would say that is the biggest red flag, but I would say there seems to be another red flag popping up in letters these days, and it is “He tells me he loves me, tells me he wants me, but says it’s unfair to me that he cannot give me what I need right now and that I deserve the world” This makes no sense to me, because if I love somebody so much and wanted them to have the world, and they loved me back why would I want to let that person go?

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      • avatar

        ReginaRey December 5, 2011, 3:50 pm

        Well you answered your own question, didn’t you? Haha. People who really want to be with you don’t typically let you go. Sometimes people are super busy, and sometimes they’re not in the most ideal place for a relationship and can’t “give them what they need” at that time. But if they want to be with that person, I think they usually put in great effort to make it work.

        The problem isn’t really the guys and gals who feed people these lines…it’s that people keep eating it up.

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am December 5, 2011, 4:04 pm

        I’ve been told by women that they can’t give me what I want in a dating scenario and honestly they can’t. They pack up their schedules with work and classes to where they don’t have the free time to get distracted with dating. At that moment, you have a few options. You can either go along for the ride and get crumbs of time they have open, you casually talk to them while you date other people, or you leave them to do their own thing and you do your own thing.

        When someone tells you they don’t have the time to put into a dating or a relationship; just take their word for it. You will stress yourself out trying to make time when the other person is clearly not focused on making time for a relationship. If they are lying or telling you the truth, it’s not your job to try and change their mind. They either really want to pursue a relationship or they don’t.

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      • bagge72

        bagge72 December 5, 2011, 4:07 pm

        The difference is that these guys are telling the LW’s this when the LW’s aren’t even worried about that. These guys have been throwing this out there when that wasn’t even the issue, and that is a big red flag.

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      • avatar

        ReginaRey December 5, 2011, 4:11 pm

        I think your point that “It’s not your job to try to change their mind” is exactly right, and more people should understand that. You shouldn’t have to change someone’s mind or convince them to put in the kind of effort you want. That throws off the balance of power in the relationship, and ultimately makes you the needy, desperate-looking party.

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am December 5, 2011, 4:36 pm

        I think everyone here has been that person that tried to change someone else’s mind. I didn’t realize how off putting it was until someone did it to me. At that point, I noticed this was how the other person felt when I just wouldn’t leave them along. I’ve been one desperate mofo in the past, but no one wants to be with you if they feel like they are not getting something special in return. If you are desperate for everyone, who will want to pursue you, since your value is nil?

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      • avatar

        Flake December 5, 2011, 4:13 pm

        I have been busy as hell, working two jobs and going to school, and you know what, all my free time I spent with my BF. It was only a couple of hours here and there, but the point is, you are NEVER too busy for a person you are truly interested in.

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am December 5, 2011, 4:24 pm

        I agree Flake. The resounding thought here is when someone says they are too busy to date, they are either not attracted to you in that way or they just don’t want to commit to it. You have to accept it for what it is and move on. You look desperate if you keep trying to pin for the time that they have no intentions of giving you.

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am December 5, 2011, 4:00 pm

        I think it states I really do love you, but I can’t give you what you ultimately need. What if they are tied up in something for a year, but he/she wants action right now. If someone in a relationship feels less desired, and the other person can’t fulfill it, the relationship is in a rough spot. You feel bad because you can’t commit anymore and she’s upset because she feels her needs are not being met. That’s when the “I love you, I want you, but can’t ultimately give you what you want” comes into play. These days, not many people want to wait a year for something to happen in relationship purgatory. That tends to only work when you are both in college or you are both advancing in your careers and each other’s time is wrapped up. If one person is relationship focused and the other one isn’t, it just makes everything that much more difficult.

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      • avatar

        ReginaRey December 5, 2011, 4:04 pm

        I think your example is definitely accurate…but best-case scenario. Like most everything, this probably exists on the spectrum. There are the people, like you described, who are genuine. And then there are people, and this is how I tend to interpret it (I’m overly cynical, I guess), who are just saying it to stay where they want in the relationship – comfortable, but not committing more than they want. The trouble is figuring out which scenario you’re in.

        But ultimately, genuine or not, you’ve got to decide whether the position you’re in is really what you want out of a relationship.

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      • avatar

        *HmC* December 5, 2011, 4:18 pm

        I agree with your comments on this thread Regina, and I’d add to this last one that even of those people who are giving this as an excuse, my experience has been that they’re not usually actively being deceptive. Often times, people who are telling you what you want to hear are saying what they want to believe is true. Relationships are complicated monsters. It’s hard to let someone go when you care about them, even if you don’t see a future with them or want everything they want from the relationship.

        I’m not making excuses for people- caring for other people’s feelings and behaving responsibly and honestly are some of the biggest lessons we learn as we mature. But I do think that a lot of distrust between the sexes is fostered by the idea that there are two types of people- liars and non liars. I genuinely believe that most people want to do the right thing most of the time- they just don’t know how. So often, we don’t even know what’s going on in our own heads, let alone our partners.

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  • avatar

    The_Yellow_Dart December 5, 2011, 3:53 pm

    As many others have said previously, you should listen when a partner tells you what he/she wants and is willing to give. In this case your boyfriend’s words “it’s unfair to me that he cannot give me what I need right now and that I deserve the world” is code for “I’m enjoying the ride, but I’m not willing to commit to a serious relationship, let alone an engagement!” MOA and find someone who will give you the world.

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  • avatar

    artsygirl December 5, 2011, 4:10 pm

    LW – put a fork in it because this relationship is done. I don’t mean to be cruel, but it sounds like your BF began the breakup 5 months ago and you are being intentionally too obtuse to follow. My guess is that your BF made some casual comment about engagement at the year mark and you ran with it to the point that it freaked him out. Now you are throwing yourself further and further into the relationship in the hopes that he will see how devoted you are to him, and he is pulling further away because you are coming across as a manipulative desperate woman that wants to be married THIS MINUTE. I would break it off with him (and do NOT do it to manipulate a commitment out of him) and try to figure out what went wrong with this relationship in the hopes that you can learn from past mistakes.

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    • avatar

      thyme December 5, 2011, 7:15 pm

      big points for your use of “obtuse.” I love that word! Reminds me of a big, fat triangle 🙂

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      • avatar

        Something More December 5, 2011, 9:11 pm

        I love that word as well. It remind of of The Shawshank Redemption 🙂

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  • avatar

    Flake December 5, 2011, 4:10 pm

    Look, I don’t want to be mean or anything, but adults do not play games in relationships with people they love. You say that you dumped him , then took him back, then dumped him again, etc… I think that means that you probably don’t love him as much as you say you do, because every time you broke up, you were taking a chance that he might not want to be back. And you did this several times. And he doesn’t love you as much as you think he does, for the same reason – he is willing to risk losing you, for the reasons that are not exactly urgent. So do both of you a favour, stop messing with each other’s heads and hearts and move on.

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      Flake December 5, 2011, 4:23 pm

      And I am sorry, but all this ”I am too busy right now, and you deserve so much more” is pure crap. People in deployment maintain relationships. People all over the world are dating, especially now, what with Skype, and all that. My commute to work is longer than 50 minutes. You can paint it any color of the rainbow, but the fact is, he probably just doesn’t really want to be with you.

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        oldie December 5, 2011, 4:51 pm

        It really sounds like “I want to break up” but lack the balls to say it straight out. If it were a case of wanting to stay together, but being too busy to give LW what she wants right now, then the pitch would be “just hang in there with me. I’ll be able to give you what you need in X months.” He doesn’t seem to be trying at all to keep her. This dumping and getting back together is described strangely. Does he ask to be taken back? What exactly does he say/promise. I think if he were saying something extremely encouraging about their future together in order to be taken back, that LW would have mentioned this. Sounds almost like, “oops, okay, you’re back” and yet they don’t see each other after he’s back?

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    Jess December 5, 2011, 4:10 pm

    The LW seems to think this desperate “I’m SO in love with him!” feeling that often accompanies one partner pulling away signifies the validity/’realness’ of this love. Those obsessive, desperate feelings aren’t true love LW, and they aren’t indicative that you are meant to be with this man. I agree with the other commentators who said this is a roller coaster with one seat. 50 minutes is not that far, if he wanted to see you, he would.

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      moonflowers December 6, 2011, 12:52 am

      Seconded. Desperation isn’t love; it’s a sign of a threat to one’s feelings of security, self-worth, future, etc. It doesn’t mean that the other person is necessary in one’s life; it usually just means one has lost oneself to the relationship.

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am December 6, 2011, 1:14 pm

        I like your style moonflowers!! You hit the nail on the head, which is why so many people lose any attraction they had for the person, when desperation rears its ugly head. A relationship flourishes from two people wanting to make it better. It’s almost like two people are jockeying for position at times. You like to impress each other, because it makes you feel good.

        I’ve been desperate and I’ve seen desperate, the ending outcome was the same in all scenarios.

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    Flake December 5, 2011, 4:20 pm

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      lk December 5, 2011, 4:34 pm

      oh, i like that

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    TECH December 5, 2011, 4:22 pm

    Why, after having endured a divorce, are you so eager to jump into an engagement that your significant other is clearly not on board with? Furthermore, why, after a year and a half of dating, and dealing with your boyfriend’s pressing career concerns and distance, is getting engaged such a priority? Dating a year and a half and not seeing each other very frequently hasn’t given you enough time to be *sure* of marriage. Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but I just don’t understand why people move so quickly.
    Your boyfriend has clearly told you he can’t give you what you need right now. Listen to him.
    His actions have clearly shown that his career is more important than you. Pay attention to that.
    Maybe you’ve never loved any one the way you love him. I once loved a man like that, too. But what I came to learn, after a roller coaster much like yours, is that being in love should not mean being in pain.

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      atraditionalist December 5, 2011, 4:46 pm

      “Being in love should not mean being in pain”-EXACTLY. Drama does not equal love. Drama equals life of misery

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    • katie

      katie December 5, 2011, 9:17 pm

      i agree about getting married after a year and a half! i understand that it does work, it can happen, and that it was really common not too long ago to know a person for like 6 months and get married… but that scared the heck out of me! my boyfriend and I will have been dating for 3 years in the spring, and I still tell him that i want an engagement of at least 2 years.

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    lk December 5, 2011, 4:37 pm

    secretly, i want to be proposed to also, LW…….. wanna know how i’m gonna do it?

    i’m going to date men until 1 of them proposes & i accept.

    i will be nearly-celibate & non-exclusive… but i will NOT be handing out ultimatums like party favors or waiting by the phone or crying myself to sleep any time in the foreseeable future.

    i like men & i like dating, but this letter just reminds me why i have no use for a “boyfriend” – i’m looking for a life partner. drama is lame.

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie December 5, 2011, 4:41 pm

    AS Wendy said this girl’s delusional and needs to change her address to reality land. Ultimatums aren’t a good idea but if you don’t fallow through with the ‘or else’ part they’re just empty words and put gas in his tank for getting as far away as he can at light speed like this guy is doing for a good reason, namely she’s a nut case.

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      lk December 5, 2011, 4:56 pm

      maybe not a “nut case” but, LW, your letter kind of came across like, “I’m dating this guy & i want to be married soon but he doesn’t want to marry me. what can i say or do to trick him into changing his mind? I’ve already done everything that Cosmo recommends & I’m getting to whatever comes after ‘desperate’ in the emotional dictionary”

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        Morgan December 5, 2011, 6:51 pm

        Exactly. She threw out the “I’ve already tried playing games…” thing like it was the first thing we would suggest and she wanted to let us know she’d already done that one. Um, no hon.

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      • fast eddie

        fast eddie December 5, 2011, 8:41 pm

        Being in love is very similar to being a nut case. I admit my comment was a bit out of line, sorry about that.

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    atraditionalist December 5, 2011, 4:43 pm

    Always listen to someone’s actions not their words: he’s telling you he wants to be with you etc.. but he’s showing you he’s not interested. Try not to give more than you get in a relationship. You’re clearly the one totally invested here – I don’t see him begging you to stay – in fact he lets the “deadlines” fly by and then you bring up another one. You really think that by ultimatum number 6 he’s going to finally get it?

    Whenever anyone says “I really want to be with you BUT..” that means they don’t want to be with you. Take them at their word and don’t try and convince them – anyone that wants you is not telling you “BUT”. And a year and a half is plenty of time to decide if you want to marry someone so dont try and convine yourself he just needs more “time”. He doesn’t. Your time is up. So dump him and meet someone new

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom December 5, 2011, 5:09 pm

      When you hear the word BUT it means ignore everything that comes before BUT and listen to everything that comes after BUT because it’s only the words after BUT that count.

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  • landygirl

    Landygirl December 5, 2011, 4:48 pm

    Square peg, round hole. I’m exhausted just reading your post because of all the emotional acrobatics you are going through to get this guy where you want him. I’m sorry to say that he is exactly where he wants to be and if you can’t accept that, then you need to move on. No amount of game playing can remedy this situation.

    LW, you need to take a long, hard look at what you want out of life outside of having a relationship. You need to work on your relationship with yourself. Once you are stronger and know what you want, the rest will fall into place.

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  • theattack

    theattack December 5, 2011, 5:16 pm

    Okay, LW… I really don’t think your relationship has a lot of hope here, because of all the reasons everyone else stated. But I will say one more thing that actually does give you some hope: A year and a half is long enough to get engaged, but it is really not THAT long. It’s not long enough that both parties have to have their minds made up (especially when you don’t see each other often). A year and a half should be both very comfortable, and very exciting. It makes me sad that you are so focused on getting a commitment out of him that you aren’t allowing yourself to lay back and enjoy yourself. And what is a relationship if it is not enjoyable? If you are absolutely set on giving him another chance, then stop with the ultimatums and the games. Have a conversation with him that includes an apology for pressuring him, and let him know that you’re going to stop all of the foolishness and let him come to decisions on his own. Tell him that you won’t wait forever, but that you realize he may not be ready at the exact moment you are. And actually believe that stuff! If you can’t do that, then go ahead and let him go. This difference in readiness does not have to end relationships if both parties are patient and understanding, but you have not been either of those things.

    And just to support what everyone else is saying here: My boyfriend and I are both very busy people. He’s a very busy lawyer, and I’m a full time student with a very heavy workload plus an internship where I put in almost 40 hours a week. We live 300 miles apart, which is between 5 and 6 hours usually. Do you know how often we see each other? Almost every weekend. If not, then every other weekend. We have a rule that we won’t go over three weeks without seeing each other, but we are understanding about life being busy. We’ve also been together the same amount of time you and your man have been. We make it work because we are seriously committed to it. 50 minutes is close enough that you could meet up in the middle for dinner more than once a week. Seriously, you do not live that far apart. At all. If you are not able to make that sort of a distance work, then that probably says something about the level of commitment both of you have to each other. I know, I know, your dogs. Can you not leave your dogs alone overnight? Hire a friend to come feed them and take them out a couple of times.

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    Sue Jones December 5, 2011, 5:33 pm

    I actually disagree. It sounds like they both were married the first time WAY TOO YOUNG. Why the rush to marry again? Why not just enjoy the relationship as it is and let things develop? I just do not get the women who are all about the ring and the wedding and not so about the relationship. Relationships have their ebbs and flows. Sometimes close, and in a secure relationship, sometimes more space while one or both develop themselves career wise, etc. If you persist with the ultimatums the relationship will end, that I can guarantee. If you ease it up a bit, you may have eventually what you want. But I do not get the rush to the altar. That is also a recipe for divorce.

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    • katie

      katie December 5, 2011, 9:41 pm

      i have never understood the rush to that altar!! especially the women who have a guy who is good and who wants the marriage- they say, “hes perfect, i am just not very turned on by him!” and not in a sexual way, you know, but more of that spark that you get when your in love with someone. and they want to marry these guys?! what, just because they are a willing party?? i just dont understand it.

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    LSS86 December 5, 2011, 5:50 pm

    I was once having an open, casual relationship with a guy who lived about 50 minutes away from me and we saw each other every weekend. About 3/4 of the time I went to him and 1/4 of the time he came to me. And let me reiterate – this was an OPEN, CASUAL relationship. If you’re in a real relationship, 50 minutes is no reason to not see each other.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark December 5, 2011, 6:32 pm

    He’s just NOT that into you. Oh, sure, he may like you. But fact it, he’d rather be with someone for the wrong reasons than alone for the right ones…. [*Bonus points if you know the 1980s movie I paraphrased that last line from! 😉 ] But yeah, as Wendy said, the only fool for love here is you. Break it off. But mean it this time. Give it a nice clean break and move forward. You WILL find somebody else.

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    • bittergaymark

      bittergaymark December 5, 2011, 6:57 pm

      typo correction: fact = face

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      cporoski December 6, 2011, 6:14 am

      is that Some kind of Wonderful?

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        amber December 6, 2011, 11:07 am

        that was my guess too. love that movie!

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    LK December 5, 2011, 6:39 pm

    Okay, I feel like everyone is being really hard on LW’s boyfriend, where as it’s LW that needs to get some tough lovin’ here. First of all, she’s dating a guy who’s 27 and if he began working right after college is probably finally beginning to see some returns on his years of hard work. Second, they’ve been dating for only a year and a half and she’s been hinting that she wants to get married for 5 months now.. which would be after a year of dating. So I just turned 28 so most of the guys I know are in the mid to late 20’s range, and none of them are really interested in getting married in their mid-20’s, particularly after a year of dating (where they don’t even see each other on a regular basis), particularly when they are also very career drive like this guy seems to be. It doesn’t meant that they don’t want to get settled down, it just means that they don’t want to get married RIGHT NOW.

    I can totally understand why he is backing away, and it’s not because he’s a bad guy but because the LW seems a little crazy. I’ve been dating my bf a little bit over a year and I am madly in love with him and I do plan on marrying him, but right now, I’m in school and I know that the first year out of school will be really tough and I’ll be working a lot. The first year of marriage should be a bonding experience not spent apart, and I wouldn’t marry him only for the reason that I wouldn’t be able to be there for him, but after I get my feet on the ground, will be able to have a stress free honeymoon and be able to spend the weekends with my new husband – that’s when I’ll marry him. And even though I do plan on marrying him (if he asks at some point :-)) if they dude spent the next five months nagging me about it, I’d really question his judgement (I mean.. look at where I am in life and what I can offer), how much we have in common (doesn’t he understand that I just want to get my career started properly?) and patience (I want to get married NOW). And then, I’d pull away because I would realize that I was dating a guy with little sense, ability to relate to people and understand the situation. And I kind of feel that’s how the boyfriend feels too.

    Yes, it is true as Wendy pointed out that some people continue to date other people with no intention of a long term commitment. But to fully realize if you are in that situation, I think you need to have a balance in a relationship. He comes to you a bit. You come to him. But you see that the relationship is stagnating and naturally not evolving. I think it’s really hard to tell if a guy has no intention of having a long term commitment when maybe he hasn’t gotten to that point or doesn’t want one yet, and you’re there banging him over the head of the marriage club. That’s a sure fire way to kill any desire.

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      LK December 5, 2011, 6:44 pm

      with the marriage club*.

      Also, the LW is upset that her boyfriend doesn’t make time to see her, but yet, she won’t go see him because of her dogs. Kind of seems unfair that he should probably not work as hard to go see her, but she doesn’t want to pay someone to house sit her dogs. It makes it seem like she willing to cater to her dogs more than him, so I don’t know what “REALLY” good to him means.

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    meaghan December 5, 2011, 7:28 pm

    My husband lives two hours away and even when we were just dating we saw each other every weekend. I’m working my butt off in college to finish my degree, and he’s working twelve hour days of training and duty but we see each other because that is our priority. Also, I have two massive dogs that I have a friend house sit for in exchange I give her a lunchdate. The point is: if its there and both parties thunk its worth it you MAKE IT WORK.

    You give a lot of excuses and make it clear that you make very immature and poor decisions. MOA and grow up. He’s made it clear what he can offer, and obviously that’s not enough for you. Move on for both your sakes.

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    Painted_lady December 5, 2011, 8:18 pm

    Look, I’m not actually trying to be as sarcastic as I sound when I say this, but have you ever hear anyone say, “I’ve loved several people precisely the way I love this person?” No one says that. So please strike that phrase from your lexicon because…I do not think it means what you think it means.

    I hate to be cruel, but why do you want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you? Usually when any of my friends are hanging on to a guy this hard when he’s so obviously not feeling it like she is – or me, I’m COMPLETELY guilty of this in my relationship prior to Painted Dude – it’s because of some other issue, whether it’s the only good thing you’ve got going, you feel like you’re running out of time, or you’re avoiding taking the reins on the rest of your life. Figure out what it is, and then figure out what you need to do to let yourself move on. The Vegan and I were all wrong for each other, but I clung to that relationship because my job sucked, the job I really wanted was impossible to live off of, I was constantly broke, hated my apartment, and was so depressed some days I didn’t leave my bed for three or four hours after I woke up. Whatever it is that’s got you convinced this guy’s it, get control of it so you don’t need him so badly.

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      Jess December 6, 2011, 4:17 am

      “or you’re avoiding taking the reins on the rest of your life”

      im soo bad about this. if i am obsessing too much about my relationship it almost always means i am avoiding putting that energy into something else. like my job search. sigh.

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am December 6, 2011, 1:28 pm

        Indeed. I’m pretty fortunate that I work in a field where the pay isn’t that good, but I have been able to work my way up the ladder the last 8.5 years. They paid for a good portion of my education and I stayed loyal to the company.

        I had a conversation with a friend yesterday about what she’s wanted out of life. We’ve known each other for 5 years and have hooked up on and off during those times. We would usually catch up with each other when both of us were single. She has a couple of kids and hasn’t really made any advancements in life over the time that I’ve known her. In the time she’s known me, I’ve graduated college, got my own place, owned a car and motorcycle, had a couple relationships, and worked my way up the corporate ladder.

        The only things I’ve seen from her was she finally broke things off with her ex husband, they were dating. She moved back home to be with a guy from her hometown and that blew up in her face. She ended up losing a very nice apartment in the process. And, she’s moved from one food service job to another. The girl is cute and smart, but seems to lack any of the ambition to lock down a career path. She will be 30 soon and still has no idea what she wants out of life.

        I never really thought that I would stay in the banking industry; however, I was fortunate enough to not quit, finish my education, and move around to different departments till I found something that I liked. The job I do now, I was terrible at for the first 6 months, but I kept at it and I learned more and more things.

        She got mad because she felt I was being harsh on her. The only reason I’m in the position I’m in now, is because at the time I had a girlfriend who knew how to push me to try harder. She could see the potential in me, but at the time, knew I was a bit scared of change. I was only 23 at the time. I took the chance and almost 5 years later, I’m a Senior Analyst. It’s not that I was trying to be hard on her, but I feel everyone needs a bit of a push to accomplish something that they may be too scared to try on their own.

        This girl has a couple of things that she wants to try; however, in the last 5 years she’s quite behind from where she initially started. I would date her in a heartbeat if I felt that she had some potential to make something better of herself. Sadly, in the years I’ve known her, I don’t see anything ever changing. And that’s really a letdown.

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    LTC039 December 5, 2011, 8:19 pm

    If you have to “play games” at 29 yrs old & in a 1.5 year relationship…that’s pretty much a sign that you need to move on to the next one…

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      ReginaRey December 5, 2011, 8:45 pm

      …or that you should be single. Definitely goin with single.

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    Ani December 5, 2011, 8:55 pm

    The only person you can give ultimatums to is yourself. If you want something to change by a certain time, give yourself the ultimatum (e.x.:’if he doesn’t propose in 6 months I’m moving on’), don’t tell anyone else, and then follow through with it. The only person you have control over is yourself.

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    evanscr05 December 6, 2011, 12:13 pm

    LW, I don’t mean to be mean, but I have to be completely honest with you – this letter really pisses me off (more than it should, I admit). This man does not love you in the way you want him to, and really, from what I gather, you do not love him in a very real way, either. You talk about being ready for an engagement, but are you ready for marriage? Have you learned enough from your previous marriage to know how better to navigate the marital waters now, or do you just want a pretty white dress and a fancy party, cause that’s basically what I’m getting from your letter. If you respected the relationship you have with this man, you would not be “playing games” and dumping him just to see how much he loves you. That’s immature, childish, and reeks of insecurity. It sounds to me like he has used this promotion as way to back off seeing you because he recognizes you want very different things. I don’t doubt that you’re boyfriend’s promotion at work has changed his flexibility to a degree (it happens to everyone), but this will always be an issue in your relationship. Career changes are an issue in EVERYONE’S relationships. If you can’t find a compromise on this now that works for both of you, why would you marry him? I get so tired of reading letters from people that are so flippant about marriage. It’s not a sorority or some game you get to win. It’s a COMMITMENT, same as you’re in right this very moment, but with a lot of nice added legal benefits. It does not make any issues you have right now go away – it exacerbates them. I have seen so many people get married, only to get divorced, because they thought it was a bandaid for the issues they already had. Why is it so hard for people to TALK TO THEIR SIGNIFICANT OTHER?! So many issues would be resolved if people did that very small thing. My husband and I talk about EVERYTHING. We always have. He’s my best friend, the person I want to talk about my day with, the person I want to make decisions with. When we disagree on things, we talk about what the real differences are until we can reach a compromise that we can both live with. Sometimes it takes a while to get there, but we always do. If you aren’t comfortable talking to your SO about things as basic as your level of commitment to each other, or how often you can see each other, you should not be with them. Simple as that. And really, quite frankly, he’s already told you how he feels. You said it yourself: He told you that “it’s unfair to me that he cannot give me what I need right now”. You are ignoring it because it’s not what you want him to say, and now you’re trying to get him to change his mind. Pushing him too hard to be with you is having the exact opposite effect. You need to either accept that your relationship will need to cool off until you’re on the same page (i.e., still date each other, but have your own separate life), or break up and meet someone else. You really only get those two options. Which one can you live with more?

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    the other guy December 6, 2011, 10:19 pm

    Look at it from his point of view, his girl friend who he had feelings for went psycho a few months ago, demanding to get married and breaks up with him all the time.

    Would you want to spend more time with this GF?

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